5 Ways to Make Passive Income Online


The internet is responsible for many wonderful things, from letting you shop whenever and wherever you want, to the ability to view unlimited cat videos. And if you're savvy, the internet can also be a great place to develop income-producing assets for yourself.

Income-producing assets are products you create or invest in that earn passive income. In essence, passive income allows you to earn money without having to do additional work after creating the asset. There are several ways you can do this online. (See also: 7 Surprising Ways to Earn Money Online)

1. Sell a course or ebook

Everyone's an expert on something, right? And the world is full of people looking to learn. One income-producing idea is to develop an online course. People will pay to learn what you know about the best travel spots in Europe, how to be a better public speaker, and everything in between. There are multiple online platforms where you can host an e-course (though you will have to pay for most of them), or you can host the course through your own blog or social media channels. (See also: Can You Really Make a Living as an Ebook Writer?)

There are plenty of tutorial, video course, and ebook content creators out there generating a steady monthly income. How you design, develop, and create your course or ebook will be very dependent on what you teach, how you teach, and the best way for your readers to learn. This all requires some legwork upfront, but if you can get the ball rolling, your online book or course can continue generating passive income well into the future. (See also: How I Made $400 in 10 Days by Selling an Online Course I Created)

2. Earn interest on a loan

If you have some cash to spare, you could earn a nice return by investing in peer to peer lending. Peer to peer lending removes financial institutions from the equation. With sites like Prosper or Lending Club, you can put up a sum of money — whether it's a few hundred dollars or a few thousand — to fund a personal or business loan yourself. Just like if they had worked with a bank, borrowers then pay the loan back with interest, which acts as a passive income stream for you. Most sites report lenders see a return of between six and seven percent. Note that each peer to peer lending site will have its own qualifications and terms and conditions, so do some research to find the best option for you. (See also: Everything You Need to Know About Peer-to-Peer Investing With Lending Club)

3. Become an affiliate

Affiliate programs pay you in exchange for sending them customers via your website, blog, or social media channels. The best-known example of a popular affiliate program is Amazon, which pays "Associates" commissions of up to 10 percent.

Here's how it works: Say you run a food blog where you showcase your favorite recipes. People who read your blog are likely interested in all things cooking: cookware, cookbooks, kitchen remodeling — you get the picture. If you include an Amazon affiliate link to a mixer you're using, for example, you'll earn money any time a visitor clicks through from your blog and makes that purchase. (See also: 5 Easy Ways to Make Extra Money Blogging)

If you want to expand your affiliate partnerships beyond Amazon, you can join networks that connect you to companies looking for affiliates — ShareASale can help you do this. Also, if there is a particular company you would like to work with, check out their website. Usually at the very bottom of the page, in the footer bar, you'll find a link to learn about any affiliate program they might offer.

4. Use AdSense

AdSense, an advertising service run by Google, operates in a similar fashion to an affiliate program. To use AdSense, you'll also need to have a content site, YouTube channel, or blog with views. But rather than letting you promote or link to a specific item or brand, AdSense automatically places relevant ads on your site for readers to click through. These ads won't be random; they'll relate in some way to the type of content you normally post. You'll automatically earn money for views and clicks on your ad. The more views you get, the more money you can make. (See also: Can You Really Make Money by Starting a Blog?)

5. Sell your photos

Do you have a good eye for photography? Are friends and family always commenting how much they'd love one of your photos hanging on their wall? Take the hint! Build a portfolio storefront with sites like SmugMug or Zenfolio where fans of your photography can purchase prints. Many gallery sites do require paying for a monthly "plan" and may take a small commission, but their bottom tier packages are often fairly affordable at a few bucks per month. Many also have plugins that allow you to process print orders with high-quality photo labs and drop-ship directly to your customers. (See also: Earn Extra Income With Your Smartphone Camera)

You could also sell your own photography to be used as stock photos. While there are many big-name stock photo agencies out there, such as Getty Images and Shutterstock, becoming a contributor often involves a lot of competition and a lengthy application process. Selling your stock photography on your own website allows you to set your own prices, licenses, and keep 100 percent of the earnings for yourself.

The internet has opened up a world of opportunity for anyone to earn a little extra money. Think of what you're passionate about, what skills you have that someone might be willing to pay for, and create a revenue generating asset that will keep extra cash flowing into your budget. (See also: 13 Ways to Make Money Online That Aren't Scams)

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